PSL title race wide open: Akbay
HIGHLANDERS coach Erol AKbay has scoffed at critics that have ruled the Bulawayo giants out of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title race, saying the championship is wide open.
The Dutchman, whose side brought their six-match winless streak to an end with a 2-0 win over How Mine last week courtesy of goals by Erick Mudzingwa and Allen Gahadzikwa, will be hoping Bosso completes a double over Border Strikers and keep up with the log leaders.
Highlanders trail leaders FC Platinum by eight points and the platinum miners’ 1-1 draw against Chicken Inn has given Akbay some hope.
“I think the championship is not done yet and chances are still open for everybody. FC Platinum and Caps United have also dropped points in the last few matches, which shows that the race is still open. Even the club in 12th position with 27 points can go to the top if they win four or five games and those above drop points,” said Akbay.
Highlanders, who have 35 points from 21 outings, are five points behind second-placed Caps United.
The Bulawayo giants should expect a tight game against table anchors Border Strikers, who are hard to beat at home. Strikers are fighting for survival and proved to be giant killers a few weeks ago when they beat Dynamos 2-1 at Dulivhadzimu Stadium. Highlanders are not underestimating their opponents.
Suspended utility player and Bosso stand-in captain Erick Mudzingwa urged his teammates to “crush” Strikers, saying the so-called small teams always raise their game when they face big guns.
“The guys can’t afford to be complacent and need to bury Border Strikers because such teams always give us problems. Remember we struggled to beat them 2-0 in the first leg and what the guys need to do is crush them early and concentrate throughout the game,” said Mudzingwa.
He is among the seven players that will miss this weekend’s action after accumulating three yellow cards.
With Mudzingwa out, either Douglas Sibanda or Peter Muduhwa will be assigned the defensive midfielder duties, with Felix Chingungwe coming in to partner Tendai Ndlovu in central defence.
Gahadzikwa, Simon Munawa, Rahman Kutsanzira and Brian Banda will be expected to provide scoring opportunities for strikers Prince Dube and Kasimero Chimbadzwa.
Championship favourites FC Platinum make the long trip to Kariba for a date with ZPC Kariba.
It’s a tricky encounter for Norman Mapeza and his platinum boys, who lost the first leg 1-2 in June at Mandava Stadium.
ZPC Kariba are fourth with 34 points, nine behind FC Platinum, and are the championship dark horses.
At Luveve Stadium tomorrow, How Mine will be hoping to recover from their shock 0-2 loss to Highlanders when they take on relegation-threatened Tsholotsho.